#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The first date in the history of Kayerkan refers to the spring of 1940. At that time, preparations were underway for the Norilsk-Dudinka broad gauge railway construction. And near the Kayerkan station, a prospectors’ hand-drilled well unearthed high-quality coal. That discovery cannot be called accidental. In the 1940s, under an agreement with the combine in the Norilsk region, two geological survey parties worked. One of them conducted reconnaissance right to the west of Norilsk: from Zub mountain to Kayerkan.
In the same summer of 1940, the imprisoned geologist Sheinmann and the geotechnical technician Pleshakov compiled a geological map on a scale of 1:50 000 of the Kayerkan area and the neighboring area of the Daldykan stream. The tenants confirmed the prospects of the coal deposit named Kayerkansky. Since that time, its research and exploration began.
In 1942, geologists laid out the rationale that large coal deposits were hidden in the area. This was the reason for the first Kayerkan mine construction start in May 1943. Norilsk coal in those years went not only for the plant’s own needs, but also for export – for ships arriving along the Yenisey and the Northern Sea Route. That is why the Kayerkansky deposit development began – there was no longer enough coal from the Norilsk mines.
The first group of builders-prisoners arrived at the site in early 1943. Here is how the Kayerkan chronicler Nikolay Shaporev described it:
“The work began in a swampy desert covered with sparse tundra vegetation. The settlement of Calargon originally served for housing (three kilometers from the mine construction site). We started with the construction of housing and commercial buildings. By the beginning of 1944, the settlement of Kayerkan had already grown. It had two barracks, a kitchen-dining room, a house for civilians, a house for VOKhR, a compressor room, a winch room, a charging station, a watch, towers, a carpenter’s workshop, an overpass, a disinfection chamber and a stable.
In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that in the 1970s the Norilsk authorities were looking for a place to build another city – a satellite of Norilsk.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive